Sunday, September 23, 2007

Where men hide

A few weeks ago I was thumbing through a book called Where Men Hide about the physical spaces that men gravitate toward when they want to escape the dullness or responsibilities of everyday life. This book asserts that when men gather, they prefer places that are "dark and dirty," congregating in "deer camps, cigar bars, strip clubs, garages, locker rooms, and even barbershops." In my circle of friends, I would have to add second-hand bookstores, pubs, cinemas and cafes, the darker and more cluttered the better.

Why do men (I realize the pitfalls of generalizations) retreat to the shadows and filth when life becomes uncontrollable? Think of Homer Simpson in Moe's bar or vying for membership in the secret Society of the Stonecutters. My wife is constantly opening the blinds or turning on lights. Doesn't she know I'm hiding? As a video producer and editor, I spend most of my days in a dark edit suite, creating new worlds that I get to control. Maybe that's why we like the dark. It's more than just a place to hide, but a place to start over, to create life the way we imagine it should be.

And the filth? I think I'm just a lazy bloke. I haven't shaved since Friday morning, for St. Pete's sake!

So where am I hiding these days, the days that are full of uncertainty and health problems and paperwork and physical therapists and all the decisions that face new parents with a child who has Down Syndrome? Under the covers. "Dad, the sun is out!" shouts my two-and-a-half year old.

"Just a few more minutes, baby." I'll work on being Superdad next weekend*.

*Why are weekends often so difficult? Film director M. Night Shyamalan once said that it's when the emotions are a little closer to the surface. I tend to agree with him.


Lori said...

I think Shyamalan is on to something. It's much easier to fill our hours during the week with (work) things that distract us from our feelings. The weekends are more open so then things have a chance to surface.
After Evan was born I went into hyper-cleaning mode, organizing & re-organizing endlessly (I didn't have an outside job at the time.) My mom, not having seen this behavior in me before, was convinced I was going nuts. (Well, I kind of was...)
Eventually things will be less overwhelming & a routine will, I promise, set in. But right now, just feel what you feel. It's ok. Oh, and Psalms was a huge help, although I wouldn't recommend Ecclesiastes. :)

Kim Ayres said...

I tend to hide... er... if I'm completely honest... um... on my blog.


♬ Nonchalant whistle ♪

Which I know must sound a bit bizarre as it's a very public place.

But a) it's an escape, b)I feel guilty about the time I spend on it instead of doing "proper" things, and c) it's a place where I feel I have more control over what goes on.

Hello. My name is Kim and I'm a blogger...

Tom said...

Lori: Here's to the day when weekdays are fun and weekends even more so.

Kim: Quiet, man. You're not supposed to let that secret out. I've convinced my wife and family that what I do online is of utmost importance. Another slip like that... one can only imagine the consequence.